The Skylon spaceplane, a concept spacecraft that has been incubating in the UK for something like three decades, has all of a sudden taken a big leap forward thanks to a technical review by the European Space Agency. And if the money comes through--Skylon is a privately funded venture--this summer’s test program could quickly turn into a full-fledged ground demonstrator engine followed by a fifth scale model of one of the engines that would actually take to the skies.
This hydrogen-burning hypersonic airliner could fly more than twice as fast as the 1,350mph Concorde—and its passengers would travel absolutely guilt-free
By Michael Belfiore Posted 01.23.2008 at 3:45 am 25 Comments
Modern air travel is a marvel. It's also a source of endless delay, annoyance and planet-killing greenhouse gases. A proposed hydrogen-powered hypersonic airliner could change all that. The plane is Reaction Engines's A2 concept, a Mach-5 (3,400mph) craft for 300 passengers funded in part by the European Union's Long-Term Advanced Propulsion Concepts and Technologies project (Lapcat). Lapcat wants an airliner that can fly from Brussels to Sydney in less than four hours. If built, the A2 will do just that—without producing a trace of carbon emissions.